Monday, April 27, 2015

How I Celebrate National Poetry Month

Just because April is almost over doesn't mean that I'm done celebrating.

Of course, I've been celebrating by reading and writing poetry. But National Poetry Month is also about sharing poetry, so for the last two (going on three) years, I've also done the following:

After the third attempt at photography, I was like "Maybe the air in here is just blurry."

The other side looks like:

Throughout the year, I write down lines of poetry that capture me. And when April comes, I hide them away in various places for members of the unsuspecting public to find.

Like many of my ideas, this tends to work better in theory than in practice. This year, I didn't get around to finishing all my cards until yesterday, so I've only hidden five so far. Also, even when I finish my cards in time, I tend to forget I have them with me. (I carried fifteen to church today, and I left with the exact same number.)

Sometimes, I worry that the only people who will find them will be much-put-upon custodians, who will slowly grow to hate both poetry and April. ("Another flippin' index card?! April is the cruelest month.")

But I do like finding small, beautiful things in unexpected places. And I doubt I'm the only one.

There's still some April left. So let's see if I can dispose of fifteen more cards before May 1st. Any ideas?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quick Update and More Shameless Self-Promotion

Between a stubborn illness and editing deadlines, I haven't had much time to even think about blogging. However, since some people (i.e., almost two people) asked about places to find my poetry, I'm happy to use that as an excuse for a post.
My Easter-themed sugar cookies. Because I'm almost as proud of these.

I currently have three poems in the most recent online edition of SNReview, which can be viewed for free.

I've also placed second in the 2015 Koser/Lohr Honorary Award contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania Poetry Society. (Later, my poem will be printed in their annual publication, but I don't have any information about dates yet.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy National Poetry Month, Happy Easter!

April is National Poetry Month.

The Academy of American Poets (through offers a list of 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month. And Writer's Digest's "Poetic Asides" blog is encouraging people to write a poem every day this month through daily prompts (and contests).

Later in April, I will write about what I do to celebrate this month of poetry.

But right now I'm the middle of celebrating something even dearer to me (though I find it impossible to separate poetry from the Gospel). Happy Easter, readers!

The exterior of "Crossroads: Where Art and Passion Meet," a yearly Stations of Cross through art in Port Townsend, WA.
With friends Heather and Vicky. (Thanks so much for taking me!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Storybook of Misused Words (Part Two)

I forgot to blog last week.

I had a deadline, and my grandma came to visit (which was wonderful), and blog posts were the last thing on my mind.

Instead, I played this card game from Atlas Games:

The rules say that winning in one round is incredibly rare and unlikely (and if you've played it before, you'll know why), so of course, that is what my grandmother does the very first time she plays.

I guess I'll just have to write two posts this week. For now, here's another tale from

The Storybook of Misused Words
"An Intense Story of Somber Purpose," 
or "The Difference Between 'For All Intents and Purposes' and 'For All Intensive Purposes'"

"What are you doing?" the gardener said, as the pixies giggled and tore the roses to pieces.

"Why are you eating that?" he demanded, as trolls gnawed on his wheelbarrow till the wheel was quite crooked.

But the trolls and the pixies continued to destroy his garden and his tools.

"Why won't anyone listen?" gardener moaned. "For all intents and purposes, I might as well be speaking to myself."

Later that day, as he wandered through town looking for pixie repellent and a new wheelbarrow, he stumbled across an unusual shop. The sign read: "Dunne, Dunne, & DUNNE Modifiers: For All Intensive Purposes."

Immediately, the gardener hurried inside and bought several intensive word forms, including some that were quite strange and rare.

When he returned to the garden, he shouted one of his new modifiers at the pixies, "What in tarnation do you think you are doing?!"

And the pixies faltered a little.

So he threw out at the trolls: "How in the Sweet William am I supposed to work if you keep eating the wheelbarrow?"

And then: "Why the Weeping Willow won't you leave?" Followed by "Who the Monkey Puzzle Tree do you think you are?!"

And under this onslaught of strange modifiers, the pixies and trolls fled.

"That was intense," said one fleeing troll to a pixie.

"I think," replied the pixie, "that was the intent."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Storybook of Misused Words

I have been absolutely swamped all week, and I've just emerged from the comma mines to see that I'm late with my weekly blog post.

So here's my version of the handwave-y "I haven't had time to blog" blog post.

From The Storybook of Misused Words
 "A Story about the Difference Between Weary and Wary"

The goose-girl standing by the lake, trying to catch a glimpse of the Fish Prince, was wary of the nearby huntsman holding a giant ax above his head. But the huntsman was weary. His arms were very tired from holding the giant ax.

“My, what a big ax you have,” said the goose-girl, warily.

“All the better to. . . .” began the huntsman wearily before stopping himself. “No. Actually, a tree sprite cursed me to carry the ax like this until people on the Internet learn the difference between words.”

"How wearisome," said the goose-girl.

"Yes, I will beware of all such creatures in future," said the huntsmen, as he stepped into a wherry and rowed away.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015 Update (March)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the PopSugar Reading Challenge. I thought I'd give a quick update on my progress. Note that while I count each challenge as separate, sometimes a book will meet multiple challenges.

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
    The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, 512 p.
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4.  A book published this year
  5.  A book with a number in the title 
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by
G. Willow Wilson, et al.

      6. A book written by someone under 30 
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

       7. A book with nonhuman characters  
Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

       8. A funny book
       9. A book by a female author 
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by
G. Willow Wilson, et al.

       10. A mystery or thriller  
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

       11. A book with a one-word title
       12. A book of short stories
       13. A book set in a different country 
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

       14. A nonfiction book  
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by various

       15. A popular author’s first book
       16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet     
Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

       17. A book a friend recommended   
In the Open by Beatrix Gates

       18. A Pulitzer-Prize winning book
       19. A book based on a true story  
Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner (Since "a memoir" and "nonfiction" are both separate challenges, I'm taking "based on a true story" to mean something more like "inspired by a true story.")

       20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
       21. A book your mom loves
       22. A book that scares you
       23. A book more than 100 years old
       24. A book based entirely on its cover
Mister Orange by Truus Matti (Having read the book, I love this cover even more. It perfectly combines so many elements from the story.)

       25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
       26. A memoir

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

       27. A book you can finish in a day     
Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee

       28. A book with antonyms in the title
       29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
       30. A book that came out the year you were born
       31. A book with bad reviews
       32. A trilogy
       33. A book from your childhood
       34. A book with a love triangle
       35. A book set in the future
       36. A book set in high school 
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by
G. Willow Wilson, et al.

       37. A book with a color in the title
Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Andrés Vera Martínez and Na Liu

       38. A book that made you cry
       39. A book with magic
How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (Magic is not explicitly mentioned, but a witch turns a meteorite into a person, so I'm saying it's close enough.)

       40. A graphic novel 
Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

       41. A book by an author you’ve never read before 
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by
G. Willow Wilson, et al.

       42. A book you own but have never read  
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

       43. A book that takes place in your hometown
       44. A book that was originally written in a different language
Mister Orange by Truus Matti, trans. from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson

       45. A book set during Christmas
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by various

       46. A book written by an author with your same initials
       47. A play
       48. A banned book
       49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
       50. A book you started but never finished

That's twenty-two down, twenty-eight to go. (I see that I've left a number of the difficult challenges for later.) How are your reading goals for the year going?

Images from Hachette Book Group, Comixology, MacMillan, Comixology, Comixology, HarperColllins, Random House, IndieBound,, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Enchanted Lion Books, MacMillan, Archaia, Comixology, Lerner Publishing, Abrams Books, Comixology, Comixology, Enchanted Lion Books, and IndieBound (in that order).